More than 40 older people from the Durham area were treated to an early Christmas slap up lunch, courtesy of Northumbrian Water, on Friday.
The free lunch marked the end of the first year of Age UK County Durham’s ‘Come Dine With Us’ initiative, which is being supported by Northumbrian Water. The project encourages older people to eat healthily by joining lunch clubs and taking turns to cook for each other in their own homes.
Northumbrian Water hosts lunches for older people who live locally at its Boldon House staff restaurant, in Pity Me, on the third Friday of every month. Guests normally pay for the main course and a hot drink and Northumbrian Water provides the dessert. So far, 31 volunteers from the water company have given up 184 hours of their time to serve 440 lunches.
After tucking into a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding, the 42 guests at the celebration lunch were entertained with carols sung by a choir of 21 pupils from Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland. Northumbrian Water is the main sponsor of the school.
After lunch, Santa paid a visit and handed out gifts to all the guests, paid for with the proceeds of a Christmas hamper raffled among Northumbrian Water staff.
Carole Loughlin, 88, of Newton Hall, Durham, is one of the regulars at the Northumbrian Water Come Dine With Us events. She said: “Being on my own, it’s company to start with and the girls here are so friendly, you can have a laugh and a joke with them. I enjoy the food as well - I always have fish, chips and peas.”
Jane Morland, Northumbrian Water’s corporate responsibility team leader, said: “The Come Dine With Us initiative has been a great success and we are proud to be part of it. A lot of the people that come to us for the monthly lunch events live alone and it’s good for them to get out, socialise with other people and enjoy a nutritious meal.”
Harriet Gibbon, chief executive at Age UK County Durham, said: “Older people who live alone can feel isolated and lonely, especially at Christmas time, and a hot tasty meal in good company in lovely surroundings makes all the difference.
“We would like to thank Northumbrian Water for everything they have done this year for our Come Dine With Us project. Their enthusiasm and commitment has been much appreciated by the older people who have enjoyed the good food, good company and entertainment.”
For more information contact Mike Chipchase on 0191 301 6720.